Starshield Satellite: A New Breakthrough in Technology

26 Mar 2024 | Sgt. Alexa Hernandez 2nd Marine Division

A new form of satellite communication is now being used by Marines of 2d Marine Division (MARDIV), II Marine Expeditionary Force. Starshield, a commercial wideband satellite communications service, is being implemented across units in the 2d MARDIV as a commercial solution for wideband satellite communications as well as joint, coalition, and partner forces.

What makes Starshield more efficient than previous military satellites is its ability to use a proliferated low earth orbit, providing a higher bandwidth and low latency services. These capabilities allow Starshield to transport data much faster, making it easier for security reasons and a variety of information exchange requirements.

“At a recent Service Level Training Event our unit was able to maintain services and the ability to plan during a significant weather event when the base fiber and other satellite transmission pieces were down due to cloud cover and power outages, said Major Tim Wrenn, communications officer with 6th Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division.

Units across 2d MARDIV are using Starshield for basic services such as email, telephony and data transmission to more complex and low-latency dependent capabilities such as targeting and fires. They are much easier to configure, making it easier than ever before for Marines to get communications established.

“My experience with Starshield has been great. Setting it up and making sure it works with my gear has never been an issue with me. I was able to test its capabilities while on a boat and actively moving. If service dropped, I would have them back up right away”, said Cpl. Felipe Martinez, a network administrator with 2d Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2d MARDIV.

In addition to these capabilities, the on-the-move Starshield terminals can be used in the maritime domain helping Marines seamlessly integrate with our Naval partners.

“At 2d Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, our first use of Starshield was through a bilateral exercise, Archipelago Endeavor 24, with the Swedish Marine Corps. We mounted a Starshield on the Swedish Command and Control Combat Boat, enabling a combined operations center throughout the Swedish Archipelago. Having high bandwidth, low latency services on a mobile maritime platform allowed U.S. and Swedish Marines to prosecute fire missions and provide reliable and relevant information throughout the battlespace”, explained Capt. Quinn T. Hemler, the assistant operations officer with G-6 communications.

Overall, the use of Starshield across the Division has offered increased national security with capabilities distinct from other previously used networks, making it a more user-friendly and efficient resource. 2d MARDIV continues to find ways to improve its warfighting competency in every domain necessary to execute ground combat element operations as part of a Marine Air Ground Task Force or Naval Expeditionary Force.